According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, here’s the definition of defamation:
“Generally, defamation is a false and unprivileged statement of fact that is harmful to someone’s reputation, and published “with fault,” meaning as a result of negligence or malice“
What happens when you wake up to find that the following has been posted about you?
Most people cower in fear, I’m sure, and entire businesses and careers have been destroyed solely due to defamatory remarks like this.
For those who don’t know just how dangerous this is, I’m from Nigeria; Nigeria has a sort of reputation for 419 scams, also known as “advanced fee fraud”, and it has been making great progress in cleaning this reputation.
Currently the biggest country in Africa, Nigeria is slowly and successfully cleaning up its reputation and international perception as far as advanced fee fraud is concerned; it’s now internationally recognized as the biggest economy in Africa, the most populous nation in Africa and a country renowned for its talent across industries and unique achievements of its citizens.
However, Nigerian or not, ANYBODY will be saddened to wake up to see that someone has FALSELY labelled you a scammer, especially when this is a reputation your country has been slowly and successfully cleaning off.
More importantly, you’d want to lose hope in humanity when you realize that the person behind such defamatory remarks against you is someone you hired to work for you, whom you paid half of his fees in advance but who failed to deliver work you paid for.
This is the exact situation I found myself in when I hired David Goehst to work for me, on the 13th of January this year.
David Goehst is apparently from Kokomo, Indiana in the United States.
He is a purported “writer”, and I hired him to write and publish guest posts for me on top publications and blogs.
I agreed to start with a $350 project to test the waters, and he requested that I send him part payment before he proceeds with work.
I sent him $170 advance payment, with the balance of $180 to be made upon publication of the article he is working on.
David promised that the article will be live within 5 days of payment to him, but it became clear to me that he is a scammer after over a month and nothing has been done.
I later found out that David Goehst is a convicted felon; he’s been convicted in the past of theft, domestic violence and battery.
I felt bad for not doing due research before giving him work.
I wouldn’t have minded, though, until I saw the unexpected when I requested that David refund money I paid him for work he promised to do but didn’t do; I hired him to write and publish guest posts on behalf of my clients, but he couldn’t even show me proof that he has written a word of the article I paid him to write after a month of paying him, let alone submitting the article to any blog for publication.
Instead, David went ahead to Ripoff Report, posted defamatory remarks about me calling me a 419 scammer from Nigeria, and he sent me a message telling me about this.
Here’s a timeline of the events as they happened (with screenshot proofs):
1. I posted a job offer on oDesk (now Upwork) looking for someone who can do guest posts on my behalf.
2. David applied to my job offer, and we continued communication via oDesk’s messaging system.
Here some screenshots showing our first communications:
3. He requested 50% upfront payment. I wasn’t initially comfortable with this, but I felt it is worth it if he could do a satisfactory job. So I agreed.
4. I sent him part payment as agreed, and he told me that he will start working ASAP and that the article will be published soon. He made me believe the article will be live within 5 days.
5. Two weeks after sending David half payment upfront, and he is still unable to give me an update on the article; I had sent a few emails to him to inquire about the status of the article but he kept reassuring me.
However, two weeks has gone by and he hasn’t sent me even a draft copy of the article to prove that he has written it.
He tried blaming it on the Easter holiday. Think of it, he already had two weeks! Besides, this is something I’m experienced with as well, so that excuse doesn’t hold water.
6. Since two weeks had gone by, when I had initially expected the guest post to go live in 5 days, I needed to show the client something as a sign that progress is being made; so I told him to at least send me the draft article that was submitted to the blog for publication.
He initially didn’t respond for 4 days, and when I told him I’ll ask for a refund if this persists he responded and told me that I’ll see progress on Sunday; Sunday came and still no progress, and his next excuse was that he was lenient on price and charges his American clients more.
7. When I insisted that he send me a draft of the article he wrote so that my client can at least see that something is being done, he responded by telling me he’ll have to retrieve it from “the queue”.
This is 3 weeks after paying him in part, yet nothing has been done.
8. Still no update, and he didn’t send me a draft of the article as well; two days later he told me that the article will be live the following day.
The next day, after waiting the whole day for the article to be live and seeing nothing, I asked him what is happening and he told me the editors of the blog he submitted the guest post to should have notified me; he further asked me to check my spam folder.
9. I told him I saw nothing, and that he should send me the link directly.
After a week, and several followups, without response from him, I decided to take the next step.
10. After a week and no reply, I asked him to refund the money I paid him and to my surprise, he changed his name to “Rafael M” and told he that he has reported me as a Nigerian scammer.
11. Thankfully, while he did change his name, he didn’t change his email address; he had been communicating to me using the email firstname.lastname@example.org, and clicking the down arrow next to his “new” name, Rafael M, revealed that it’s the same email from the same guy.
You can see for yourself:
David Goehst, pretending to be Rafael M, sent me this defamatory message on May 5; I did a Google search for my name and found out that, true to his word, he had posted defamatory and libellous accusations about me on Ripoff Report and another site.
Who Really is David Goehst? Digging Deeper.
Saddened by this development, I decided to dig deeper into who David Goehst really is.
On the surface, he was another average guy, who has contributed to several reputable sites, has a contributor account on Huffington Post (which was later terminated), is active online and owns the blog WhatInfo.net.
However, when I dug deeper, it became clear that David Goehst is another scammer and hardened criminal.
On November 1, 2007, David Goehst was charged with fraud against a financial institution; he tricked an ATM machine into giving him cash he didn’t own. On April 24, 2008, David Goehst was further convicted of theft and was sentenced to 3 years in prison. I’m not making this up, and the records are readily available online; you can see for yourself here.
Furthermore, David Goehst was convicted of domestic violence and domestic battery against his partner in July, 2005.
He later tried to absolve himself by claiming to be a “good man” who “made a mistake”, but a history of domestic violence and battery in 2005, fraud against a financial institution in 2007, theft in 2008 and now scam, extortion and defamation in 2015 shows he’s anything but a good man. It seems to be in his blood.
Now, maybe he felt he will get away with this since he’s attacking a foreigner, from a country like Nigeria no less, but he’s wrong.
I dug further and found out that I won’t be the first person he has scammed; he has scammed countless others who have posted about him on Ripoff Report, and other scam reporting sites.
Here are some screenshots of what has been posted about him and his scamming activities across the internet.
David Goehst Scammer on Digital Points Forum
David Goehst Scammer on Ripoff Report
Then you have it again; he’s being reported here as a scammer as well.
Most people he has scammed probably didn’t have a platform to expose him, or maybe they do not want to go to the hassle.
He probably felt I will cower because I’m Nigerian, but I won’t; I’m proud to be Nigerian, and my country is slowly and successfully proving to the world that better things than 419 scams can come out of this country.
David has failed this time around, and he has been exposed for what he really is; a scammer, convicted fraudster, convicted thief, female beater, domestic abuser and heartless crude.
What Will I Do Next
When this kind of attack is made on your reputation, especially by a heartless convicted felon, to say it has no effect will be an understatement.
I was disappointed when I saw this; David could have simply ignored my message and refuse to refund me, but to post defamatory remarks about me online is too much.
One of the core services I offer here, and that I’ve offered to clients in the past, is reputation management, so I’ll be taking a series of steps to fix this as well.
Here are the steps I’ll be taking to clean up this mess:
1. I’ll be suing David for defamation; David messed with the wrong person. The convicted felon he is should have tried rebuilding his character or remain hidden, but not only is he swindling others of their hard-earned money, but he’s also on a quest to damage reputations.
Now that I have proof that this is his handiwork, I’ll be suing David for defamation and extortion.
Hopefully, this teaches him and others like him that there’s a limit one mustn’t cross.
2. I’ll seek a court order to ensure this is removed; it will be difficult to simply get Google to remove this, so I’ll seek a court order to establish it is defamation, and I’ll send this to Google and Ripoff Report to get them to remove this false posting about me.
3. I’ll build up my profile: At the time of writing this, his defamatory posting on Ripoff Report is ranking on number 5 page 2 in Google, and number 6 page 1 in Bing for my name.
A much stronger profile would have made this impossible.
There are crooks and miscreants everywhere, and there’s an abundance of them online; having a strong presence online and taking preemptive measures against actions like this can go a long way.
What You Can Learn From This
There’s a lot you can learn from this experience as well. Here are some tips:
1. Do your due research before hiring anybody; a thief will always be a thief, and when you find out someone you’ll be working with has been convinced of theft and/or other similar crimes, even if you were to work with that person, the last thing you want to do is pay that person anything upfront.
2. Always require samples before hiring anybody; unfortunately, this was a mistake I had made. When I initially asked David for samples of his guest posts on other sites, he said an article of his had been deleted when he gave it to someone as a sample.
Now that I think of it, not only does that sound ridiculous but it was a red flag that I was dealing with a miscreant.
3. Build your online profiles; through blogs, interviews, social media profiles and other relevant mentions on authoritative sites, make sure you have a dominant profile online. This way, if someone decides to attack your reputation, you’d at least be protected until you can defend yourself.
Have you been falsely attacked online before? How did you respond? Kindly share in the comments.